Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAssou-Ekotto: One Of The Premiership's Best Left Backs - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Assou-Ekotto: One Of The Premiership's Best Left Backs - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Assou-Ekotto: One Of The Premiership’s Best Left Backs

Always it seems nearing the end of a season, fans and the media alike will talk about players who have vastly improved this season.

Whilst eye-catching guys like Nani, Jack Wilshere and Joey Barton (Yes even him!) have stood out this year for their performances, a left back playing in North London has this season come on leaps and bounds.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto may be known more for being ‘that guy’ when it comes to his creative hairstyles, but this season his performances for Spurs have been right on the money.

In the past Assou-Ekotto – like the whole of the Spurs defence – was routinely criticised for his lack of concentration and poor positioning, which time and time again often led to goals being conceded.

During the thrilling North London derby last night, it was clear to see right from the first whistle that there were going to be quite a few goals scored due to the shaky defences on either side.

Time and time again last night, both teams gave the ball away too easily and seemed more keen at times in trying to walk the ball out of the penalty area than hoof it away, like any sane defender would of course.

Assou-Ekotto last night wasn’t one of those defenders who looked shaky and if anything his play and intensity seemed to revel in playing in a game of last night’s magnitude. Staying as tight to Theo Walcott as possible, the Cameroon international shone for Spurs last night.

His swash-buckling way of defending was one of the reasons why his team were able to level the scores in the second half. Some of his interceptions to keep out Walcott were exceptional.

There was one astonishing bit of play in the first half when he not only trapped the ball but skilfully cut back inside Arsenal’s number 14 before sending out a sensational 45 yard crossfield pass which brilliantly found Rafael Van der Vaart out on the right.

Speaking of sensational passes, Assou-Ekotto’s ball to Aaron Lennon that helped Spurs win their penalty last night was out of this world and completely cut open Arsenal’s rather vulnerable defence.

To be fair with Aaron Lennon’s pace most ‘bad’ passes can be made into good ones, should the pacey winger catch up to the ball. But with Assou-Ekotto’s last night, it was just a brilliant pass timed to perfection.

Back towards the end of 2008, Assou-Ekotto wanted out of White Hart Lane after growing frustrated about his lack of playing time at the start of Harry Redknapp’s reign. However the left back has since won over Redknapp and the Spurs fans and has added real maturity to his game.

I seem to recall in the 2009 Carling Cup final he handled himself pretty well coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo, and not too many left backs aside from Ashley Cole have done that in the past.

Assou-Ekotto’s whole game has improved and his partnership with Gareth Bale is working brilliantly. One of the reasons why Bale, the PFA player of the year, has arguably done so much going forward and played with so much freedom is the fact that Assou-Ekotto is defending better and making sure he covers back for him.

So here’s to the Spurs number 32, who at least in my eyes and regular watchers of Spurs has been probably the most improved left-back in the Premiership this season. Now let’s just hope for his sake he can continue this form next season and not go back to making those silly errors of the past, because the way he’s played this year he would not derserve that.

Adam Dennehey –

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